Friday, July 17, 2009

Spark: Ideas 2 Business Workshop

Summary of the workshop:

Venture summary
  • Write for the opportunity, not the features. The sections on finance, marketing, etc are there to see if you can follow through with the opportunity.
  • What is the unique value proposition? How does it scale if you took the idea out of NZ.
  • Risk and reward.
  • Having good credentials isn't very important. Venture capitalists/Angels can provide the right people if needed.
  • "Tell me what I want to hear so I can get you there".

  • Teams don't have much in way of hierarchy.
  • "We're all in this together".
  • Technical questions raised within a company usually traverses down through a hierarchy of roles rather than to team; team disintegrates into a hierarchy or responsibilities.
  • Keep the differentiation among team members but need to keep the team integrated.

Market validation
  • Customers are interested in what they're buying in terms of benefits rather than features.
  • What is the pain point? What is the thing that customers feel threatened or incapacitated by?
  • "Product/service X has feature Y. So what?"
  • Creating a habit.
  • Don't have a solution looking for a problem.

Sales and marketing
  • Build a relationship.
  • Help people buy. Don't sell to them.
  • Don't close the sale when people come to you.

  • Sources close to you: Friends, Family, Foes, and Fools.
  • Speaker was entertaining so I forgot to write down notes :-p
  • Speaker was from the ICE House so a bit of publicity for their funding rounds.

  • Analogy: A person can live on just water for extended periods but cannot live for long with no air. A business can operate with a cash reserve (shareholder funds) for extended periods but cannot operate very long with no cash flow.
  • How well can the business turn assets into sales.
  • Assets = (Stock + Debtors) + Fixed assets.

Intellectual Property
  • Patent -> Time and Money.
  • Time to market: Is it worth sacrificing just to get a patent?
  • Trade secret: Coke, KFC.
  • Copyright is automatic.
  • Not much benefit in registering a trademark.
  • Case study: Satellite Spies

  • Camera accessory: Orbis Flash
  • Prototype made.
  • Lawyer was consulted on patenting. Non-Disclosure Agreement used when speaking to people about the idea.
  • Savings used to create real prototype.
  • Simple market validation by asking friends and people on forums.
  • Finding the right manufacturer in NZ and China.
  • Entrepreneur also needs to be a salesperson.
  • Publicity: Forums, email database, website, YouTube, mavens, banner ads, product reviewers.
  • Masters Program to give customers ownership of the product success.
  • 3rd party logistics for shipping.
  • Crossing the chasm. Technology adoption. Each section is vertically integrated but the sections are not horizontally integrated.
  • Make. Sell. Count.

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